St. Barts Island Cottage
Designer Barry Dixon gets inspired by tropical greens and ocean blues to give this retreat beaucoup flair.
Style: A quintessential French island cottage, complete with a steeply pitched roofline, plank siding, louvered windows, and bold turquoise shutters
Space: 2,269 square feet of interior space with four bedrooms, four and a half baths, a game room/study/sleeping loft, and 692 square feet of outdoor space
Setting: A mountaintop high above the Bay of St. Jean, the second-largest town on St. Barts in the French West Indies
View: The entire Bay of St. Jean, complete with white-sand beaches and the luxurious Eden Rock Hotel below.
For a fuss-free facade, Barry clad the exterior in white-painted, horizontal V-groove siding and added jalousie, or louvered, windows to usher in cool breezes, even during the occasional rainstorm. Subtle details include a herringbone-tiled terrace, shutters and doors with inset paneling, and a curvaceous metal bench inspired by examples found in Parisian parks.
A geometric lantern and metal floor lamps provide industrial contrast to soft blue fabrics. Instead of focusing the seating around a TV or coffee table, Barry provided small-scale lounging areas throughout the room, letting the view take center stage. A bold print on the draperies and pillows is a modern spin on traditional French toile. Barry also added a bar to link the living room and kitchen.
The chaise—Barry’s design—combines distressed teak with metal detailing and neck rolls that can be adjusted to fit under the knees.
The third-floor mezzanine functions as a play area for the grandchildren and a place for naps or card games. Sheer curtains create the illusion of enclosure but allow light to flow between the second and third floors. Barry designed the upholstered wedges to be seats for the card table or, when pushed together, an ottoman.
The deep turquoise paint that Barry used on the walls here is a perfect match to the ocean. For a touch of island texture, Barry commissioned teak cabinets topped with 3-inch-thick countertops made from crushed local volcanic rock. The striped Roman shade adds just the right amount of French Country flair.
Barry’s clients challenged him to create a place where they could entertain three generations of family every Christmas. To make maximum use of limited space, he brought the dining room outdoors, under deep eaves with adjustable awnings. “The weather in St. Barts is divine most of the year, so it made sense,” he says. Elemental iron chairs pair with a textured oak table; the pendant lamp, which Barry purchased in Morocco, adds a touch of the arabesque.
Wrapped in gauzy curtains and surrounded by shades of aqua and sea foam, the bed faces pocket doors that open to the pool terrace and a private sitting nook, which Barry outfitted with a pair of unfinished teak loveseats. Stone side tables and woven floor cushions add texture to the space.
A plush banquette wraps halfway around the space for ample shaded seating. Exposed wood and heavy curtains make the space feel cool and inviting. The pierced-metal lantern and octagonal carved stone table add a global beat.
For a streamlined look that doesn’t distract from the jaw-dropping view of the Bay of St. Jean, Barry chose simple, low-slung furnishings. Teak chaises with a distressed finish and striped cushions encourage lounging.